Game of Thrones Review by John Keegan

Game of Thrones 7.04: The Spoils of War

Game of Thrones 7.04: The Spoils of War

Written By:
David Benioff and D. B. Weiss
Directed By:
Matt Shakman

This short seventh season hits its midpoint with a change in the game, as Daenerys finally ignores conventional wisdom and “fights like a dragon”.  Or with a dragon, which is just as good in this instance.  It’s the kind of scene that fans have been waiting for since the very beginning, which also serves to remind everyone watching that there are less than ten episodes left of the entire series.  Even so, this season is merely setting the stage, it seems, for the true endgame in the final season.



Dany Takes Flight (and Names): Probably best to begin with the ending: that long battle sequences with Dany and her dragon roasting the bulk of the Lannister forces on the way back from Highgarden is a wonder to behold.  There was every reason to believe, given the death toll thus far this season, that Bronn was going to be the next high-profile victim.  After all, there’s still a bit more for Jamie to do before he can reach the natural end of his journey.


And after the previous episode emphasizing that Jamie is the type to learn from his mistakes, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to either learn from the mistakes made in this battle or to realize his errors when it comes to Cersei.  One gets the sense that he has important decisions to make before the end of the saga, given his previous status as the Kingslayer.  I still believe he will end up killing Cersei and then taking his own life.



Tyrion’s Struggle: The Hand of the Queen sees his role as chief advisor somewhat usurped, and then he sees Lannister soldiers being turned to ash in front of his eyes.  It’s more than enough to give anyone pause, but I sincerely hope it is not a portent that Tyrion might betray Daenerys.  For one thing, as much as he has been engaged in some questionable dealings, he has usually been one of the more principled characters to date.  I hope, instead, that this simply prompts him to challenge Dany to consider how she will be perceived, now that her message has been delivered.  (And my suspicion that he is, in fact, the third Targaryen might sway him to retain his current allegiance should it be discovered.)


Preparing for Winter:  Dany’s attack will hurt King’s Landing in the sense of how long they can last in a brutal winter; in Winterfell, the same concerns are at the top of the list.  While it’s true that none of it matters if the White Walkers can’t be stopped, preparing for the rough days ahead is still a priority.  And of course, it makes certain alliances a bit more reasonable to understand, especially when it comes to the Starks and Littlefinger.



Siblings Reunited: Arya finally returns home and it is a wonderful series of scenes to behold.  It’s poignant to hear the names of long departed characters again, which underscores how long it has been since the Starks were truly all gathered in Winterfell.  Arya and Sansa have a fitting reunion in the crypts, surrounded by reminders of all they have lost, and everything that will propel them to ensure future survival.  And how ridiculously awesome was the sparring match between Arya and Brienne?


Yet all is not warm and fuzzy in Winterfell.  Sansa is clearly bothered by just how much Arya has changed, and Littlefinger is far too pleased at the sight for things to go smoothly.  When Sansa feels threatened, she still tends to let down her guard, and there is too much story still left to tell for anyone to be confident that she won’t be influenced to give Littlefinger advantage while Jon is occupied elsewhere.  There’s a lot of reason to believe that Littlefinger’s motives in giving Bran that dagger might play into the dynamics as well. 



Jon and Dany Bond: The moment draws nearer, I’m sure, when Jon will discover his true parentage and things will change dramatically for him, especially in relation to Dany.  For now, they bond over rather convenient petroglyphs in the caves below Dragonstone.  This conflict isn’t simply multi-generational, but primordial, and the resolution of the current threat may well require a solution that brings in a new age for the Westerosi.  At this point, there is a stirring of attraction between aunt and nephew, which would seem disturbing if it wasn’t actually more distant a relationship than previous Targaryen rulers.


Yet, for all that it fits the actual source material’s matter-of-fact treatment of royal incest (despite the judgment placed on the Jamie/Cersei pairing), it’s hard to imagine that the writers are going to take the most obvious pairing in the entirety of the saga and bring it to fruition.  Literally everything points to a Dany/Jon romance, yet in the adaptation (unlike where the books have left things dangling), there is no sign that Dany can still bear children.  So it seems likely this is giving Jon/Dany fans something to work with, before the real ending delivers a different outcome.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The long battle sequence with Dany, a dragon, and lots of roasted Lannisters
  • Arya’s sparring match with Brienne
The Bad:
  • Can someone please put a dagger in Littlefinger’s throat already?

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Game of Thrones by - 8/9/2017 12:07 PM153 views

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